Lindsay Caproni Rummell #016
Touch and Feel
Amanda Younger 12/7/2020
March 15, 2020, was a significantly different atmosphere in New York City than its current state. It was just before my mother’s big birthday celebration that was canceled, our film premiere at SXSW postponed, and the beloved St Patrick’s Day parade ending before it started. I was told to work from home for the next 2 weeks during the City lockdown, so we piled in a car for the family home upstate with newlyweds Mark and Lindsay Caprioni Rummell. Together we began a two-week lockdown that extended to a five-month quarantine learning a new work process away from the office, all day zoom meetings testing our modem, and coming together at 6 pm for an at-home happy hour of decompression and fresh idea sharing.
Lindsay Caproni Rummell, Director of Design and Product Development, sat down with us to discuss how much the industry has had to change under the current pandemic climate. “It’s definitely been a challenge. Not only do we have to get used to the fact that we’re no longer in an office and can’t touch our product and touch these leather swatches and see the colors in person and all that, but we’re not there to watch our samples and our production go down the line.”
New trust and reliability seem to have been built between suppliers and brand designers through 4 design seasons that have been processed during the pandemic, so far. “We’ve really had to rely on our technicians and their eyes and their tastes and their expertise to get the product where we want it. So what comes with that is a lot more…video conferences with China at 10, 11:00 PM. It’s challenging, but at the same time, you really can see how your potential can grow, when you’re faced with these challenges and…how everyone stepped up and can still deliver a beautiful product.”
While the designers are unable to touch and feel the fabrics going into the products they sketch, the buyers are in the same challenge and now depending on virtual videos and look books. “We’ve really leaned on marketing and our graphic designers…And it’s basically each style on a page photographed beautifully and then in the corner is a video of the model kind of walking, if you will, down a runway wearing the shoes.”
Even though retailers were struggling against online shopping, marketing easily shifted gears to the .com business side for products during brick and mortar lockdowns. The trend has moved for more comfort over style with consumers working from home, grabbing curbside pickup, and attending virtual galas. However, we reminisced about how making events at home were necessary to survive the unknown. Making the mundane moments special with a theme night that involved a reason to dress up improved our morale and stimulated our creativeness. Caprioni Rummell assures us, “We’re starting to see her buying, I dare say dress shoes…I think our frame of mind has changed in the way we study, you know, our customer and what she wants…to keep her feeling good, confident, strong, and comfortable through the toughest of times.”